5 Day Muscle & Strength Building Workout Split

Build muscle and strength with this workout program that combines two strength based weekly workouts with three hypertrophy size building weekly workouts.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
10 weeks
60-90 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
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Workout Description

A topic that is constantly under debate in the bodybuilding community is how to build muscle at the fastest rate possible.

One camp has the opinion that it’s all about getting strong.

The other camp will argue back that most powerlifters look like fat guys who don’t even workout.

The truth of the matter is, gaining strength and nutrient delivery (i.e. the pump) are equally important. It would almost be like asking which organ is more important; your heart or your liver? You would be dead without either.

This size and strength training program focuses on gaining strength and blood volume training so you get the best of everything.

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Training Frequency

Studies show that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is elevated 2-3 days after training a specific muscle group.

To maximize MPS, each muscle group will be trained once every 3-4 days in the size and strength training program.

Athlete Performing EZ Bar Bicep Curls

Overtraining and Stress

Muscle mass gains don’t happen in the gym. It’s after your workout when you are resting that your body actually repairs and rebuilds the muscles you broke down during your workout.

Doing another workout before your body has had a chance to fully repair the broken down muscles from your first workout would obviously be counterproductive. Workouts in the size and strength program are intense to stimulate the muscle to grow, but short so you don’t over train.

There are three main stress hormones in the body; cortisol, catecholamines and Neuropeptide Y (NPY). NPY is only released during times of perceived chronic stress.

NPY is particularly evil in that unlike the catecholamines and cortisol, which are mainly catabolic hormones (i.e. they burn fat), NPY makes you gain fat. When NPY is released in large amounts, it causes fat cells to go from immature baby fat cells to full-grown, mature fat cells. To make matters even worse, cortisol enhances the efficiency of NYP to develop more fat cells.

Other negative effects of overtraining include:

  • Reduced muscle protein synthesis and increased muscle protein breakdown
  • Reduce growth hormone release
  • Metabolism slowdown
  • Water retention
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

Strength Phase

The first 2 workouts in this program focus on big compound movements such as the deadlift, squat, and bench press. The goal rep range is 4-6. Rest periods will be 2-3 minutes between sets. The strength phase is all about moving as much weight as possible.

I recommend rotating your strength phase movements every 4-5 weeks so you make consistent progress. For example, you could substitute squats with front squats.

Size Phase

The next 3 workouts in this program focus on blood volume and nutrient delivery. The goal rep range will be 8-12. Rest periods will be 60-90 seconds between sets. The size phase is all about getting as big of a pump as possible.

Make sure to use exercises in the size phase that you have a good mind to muscle connection with. Feel free to swap out one of the exercises I have listed for a different exercise if you get a better feel from that exercise. For example, you could substitute standing dumbbell bicep curls with standing EZ-bar bicep curls.

Athlete Performing Bent Over Rear Delts Flys

Ab Training

Some people might argue that direct ab training is not needed since the abs get so much indirect work from big compound lifts like squats, overhead barbell press and deadlifts.

Although that is true, I personally feel that to make the abs really ‘pop’, direct ab work is needed. At the very least, it can’t hurt. In the size and strength training program, you will be training abs three times per week. Add the ab workout to the end of three workouts each week.


I do not recommend doing a lot of cardio on an intense workout program like this. Cardio taps into your body’s recovery ability and puts you at risk of over training. It’s also simply not needed.

Cardio isn’t magic. It simply burns calories. You could achieve the same effect by simply removing calories from your daily diet. Keep cardio minimal on this program. If you want to add in cardio, keep it low intensity.


Supersets are when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between.

After finishing the first exercise, you immediately start the second exercise. After both exercises are completed, you take the prescribed rest period.

5 Day Muscle & Strength Workout Weekly Schedule

  • Monday: Upper Body Strength
  • Tuesday: Lower Body Strength
  • Wednesday: OFF
  • Thursday: Back/Shoulders Size
  • Friday: Chest/Arms Size
  • Saturday: Legs Size
  • Sunday: OFF

Monday: Upper Body Strength Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Weighted Wide Grip Pull Ups 2-3 4-6
2. Bent Over Barbell Row 4-5 4-6
3. Narrow Grip T-Bar Row 2-3 4-6
4. Standing Overhead Barbell Press 4-5 4-6
5. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4-5 4-6
6. Weighted Dips 2-3 4-6
7. EZ Bar Skullcrusher 2-3 4-6
8. EZ Bar Bicep Curls 2-3 4-6

Rest periods: 120-180 seconds between sets.

Tuesday: Lower Body Strength Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squats 4-5 4-6
2. Hack Squats 2-3 4-6
3. Deadlifts 4-5 4-6
4. Lying Leg Curls 2-3 4-6
5. Standing Calf Raise 4-5 4-6
6. Seated Calf Raise 2-3 4-6

Rest periods: 120-180 seconds between sets.

Thursday: Back/Shoulders Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Wide Grip Pull Down 4-5 8-12
1b. Narrow Grip Pull Down 4-5 8-12
2. Chest Supported Machine Row 4-5 8-12
3. Narrow Grip Low Pulley Cable Row 2-3 8-12
4a. Straight Arm Rope Pull Down 2-3 8-12
4b. Lower Back Hyperextensions 2-3 8-12
5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4-5 8-12
6. Standing Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise 2-3 8-12
7. Standing EZ Bar Front Raise 2-3 8-12
8. Dumbbell Rear Delt Lateral Raise 2-3 8-12
9a. Cable EZ Bar Upright Row 2-3 8-12
9b. Rope Face Pull 2-3 8-12

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Friday: Chest/Arms Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press 4-5 8-12
2a. Flat Machine Chest Press 2-3 8-12
2b. Incline Dumbbell Fly 2-3 8-12
3. Cable Crossover 2-3 8-12
4. Narrow Grip Bench Press 2-3 8-12
5. Seated Overhead EZ Bar Tricep Extension 2-3 8-12
6. Single Arm Cable Press Down 2-3 8-12
7. EZ Bar Preacher Curl 2-3 8-12
8. Standing Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2-3 8-12
9. High Pulley Single Arm Bicep Curl 2-3 8-12

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Saturday: Legs Size Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Seated Hamstring Curl 4-5 8-12
1b. Leg Extension 4-5 8-12
2. Front Squat 4-5 8-12
3a. Leg Press 4-5 8-12
3b. Barbell Walking Lunge 4-5 8-12 Each
4a. Abductor Machine 2-3 8-12
4b. Adductor Machine 2-3 8-12
5. Glute Kick Backs 2-3 8-12 Each
6. Donkey Calf Raise 4-5 8-12
7a. Seated Calf Raise 4-5 8-12
7b. Single Leg Calf Press 4-5 8-12 Each

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

Ab Workout: 3X Per Week

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Hanging Leg Raise 3-4 8-12
1b. Decline Sit Up 3-4 8-12
2a. Lying Leg Raise 3-4 15-20
2b. Cable Crunch 3-4 15-20
3. Cable Wood Choppers 3-4 15-20 Per Side
4. Barbell Ab Roll Out 3-4 Failure

Rest periods: 60-90 seconds between sets.

65 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/12/2021 - 06:18

Can you recommend this workout plan for beginners, or will it fit more experienced lifters? Thank you, I am in need of a 5 day split suited for beginners.

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Posted Thu, 05/13/2021 - 10:20
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Posted Mon, 04/26/2021 - 13:34

Hi M&S Team... If I’m pressed for gym time but need to get my abs in, can I do an sets during my 180 second rest periods on strength days?

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Posted Tue, 04/27/2021 - 09:56

Hey Bart - that wouldn't be ideal, but yes, you could do that.

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Posted Mon, 11/09/2020 - 12:02

God this workout is terrible. It basically copied PHAT training, except made it bad. Like wtf he just crammed a bunch of random exercises into one workout and was like here do it. Like it makes no sense, especially on the strength day, you are doing 4-6 for CURLS AND SKULLCRUSHERS? lIKe wtf guys seriously. And on chest and arm day, you have like over 15+ sets for ur chest.

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Posted Sat, 09/05/2020 - 15:13

goal is too add as much mass as possible do i have too used the exercise selection for full 10weeks and i train at home for some exercise i need too substitute

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Posted Thu, 09/24/2020 - 11:26

Hey Stephen - which exercises are you needing to substitute?

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Posted Tue, 08/18/2020 - 08:25

I don’t have access to abductor or adductor machines. What would be a good alternative for these?

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Posted Mon, 12/16/2019 - 04:06
Krean Emmott

Just wondering could this be done with saturday and sunday off instead due to work demands it would suit more to do 5 weekdays

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Posted Sun, 11/17/2019 - 14:13

Hi, I've been training for nearly 2 yrs. For the past 2.5 months have followed this program, just wondering what would suit me best for next step for 5days strength/size/gain contains more shoulder expertises!? Thanks

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Posted Sun, 11/10/2019 - 17:53

Hi what calorie intake would you recommend for this workout. I'm 27 5'9 197 lbs.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 13:00
omar kamal

i started this workout plan last week and i love it, i used to workout last year but i've been off for sometime now, is this routine good for me as i want to gain weight ( muscle mass ) or should i go with a beginner routine for the first two months instead

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Posted Thu, 06/06/2019 - 06:57

I was using 5 days split like chest,back,leg shoulder,arms..
now i start this and this feel great..can u advice me after 10 weeks wt is the best next schedule,
other wise i will lose every thin..please rep

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Posted Sat, 04/06/2019 - 19:41
Anthony Dillon

What the??? 3 high intensity ab workouts in one week? That's so incredibly counterproductive as they do not have enough time to rest fully, and that's not even counting the heavy compound movements that require a lot of core stability.

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Posted Tue, 04/02/2019 - 18:00
Alex C

Quick question. On the size phase are we suppose to use the same weight as the strength phase? or we suppose to go little bit lighter?

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Posted Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:26

Hi Alex,

You'll need to go lighter given the higher amount of volume during the size phase.

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2019 - 05:41

Hello, thanks for the very helpful plan.
I have a question on the weight. For the 4-6 reps; how should I calculate the weight to lift? Or is it supposed to be at my 4-6 reps failure weight?
Thanks in advance.

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:55

Hi Alvin,

Finish each set feeling as though you have 1-2 reps still left in the tank.

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Posted Wed, 02/27/2019 - 00:38

Hey Josh,
Thanks for your workout plan. since I am using this workout, I was just wondering how much calories do I burn approximately ?

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Posted Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:03

Hi Mehdi,

Calorie expenditure will depend on the workout, weight used, and the individual performing the workout. If you have the myfitnesspal app - try to enter in the duration of your workout under the exercise field for "moderate weight-training". It should help provide some relatively accurate calorie counts.

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Posted Wed, 02/20/2019 - 08:26
Ian Irvin Pacua...

Are the workouts with a & b supposed to mean supersets?

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Posted Wed, 02/20/2019 - 08:37

Hi Ian,

Yep! Those are supersets.

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Posted Mon, 02/18/2019 - 17:00
Steven I Montanez

Would it be a bad thing to do my Deadlifts after Squats and then do Hack Squats or should I stick to this strict program?

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Posted Tue, 01/29/2019 - 05:30

Big fan of the flat bench press, could i substitute the flat machine chest press for a flat bench press?

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Posted Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:09

Been doing this for almost 10wks now. Like the progress. Any recommendations for a follow-up program? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 01/28/2019 - 09:48
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Posted Wed, 01/23/2019 - 14:38

Would it be ok to work out 5 days in a row instead? (mon-fri, then sat and sun rest)

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Posted Fri, 01/25/2019 - 09:42

Hi Jack,

That should be fine.

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Posted Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:04

With the suggested pauses between sets, day 1 will be between 1 and 1,5 hours in pause alone. That if I understand the program correctly?

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Posted Fri, 01/11/2019 - 01:53

When It gives the number of sets, for example It says 4-5 sets with 4-6 reps, are these considered the working sets or including warmup weight?

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Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:13

Hi Jeff,

Those are the working sets.

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Posted Thu, 01/10/2019 - 19:29

Hello Josh,

This program looks great in terms of volume and rest... would it be okay to switch Friday and Saturday in order to alternate upper and lower body? Also to focus on arm growth and let it rest the weekend...

Thank you!

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Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:05

Hi Jaime,

Yes, that'd be fine.

Best of luck!

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2019 - 23:26

Is it better to have fewer strength days than size days? Could I do a push/pull/legs for strength, then go upper-lower for size?

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Posted Thu, 01/10/2019 - 16:23

Hi Ron,

Sure, that would be fine.

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2019 - 18:28

What are the A and B for beside the numbers?

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Posted Thu, 01/10/2019 - 16:21

Hi Matt,

That represents a superset.

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Posted Sun, 12/30/2018 - 17:39

Hi Josh,
Would you alter this program any for my age of 45?

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 12:14

Hi James,

Not necessarily if you find you're able to recover properly from each workout session. The main thing to consider as you age is your recovery level. You may have to alter workout days or volume depending on this.

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Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 02:05

I almost completed 1 year in gym and my muscles are not growing anymore
should this program effective in muscle gain and breaking the platue?

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Posted Mon, 12/10/2018 - 09:55

Hi Ritesh,

Yes, this program is an excellent option to help you build lean muscle.

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Posted Sat, 12/08/2018 - 08:46

Hello.. great fan of muscle and strength. I was able to gain 103 kilos using 4 days split program in a year. Now I want to do this routine. I hope it helps me improve more. I want to gain little more muscle and at the same time my stubborn belly fat which is not much but not going away. will this workout help me to shred the belly fat? and is there any replacement to abductor/adductor machine as my gym doesnt have that machine? thank you so much

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Posted Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:05

I can't hit the gym on weekends. Can i do this straight Monday to Friday?

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Posted Mon, 12/03/2018 - 12:19

Hi Jim,

Should be fine.

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Posted Wed, 11/21/2018 - 09:49

Hello. If there's for example 4 sets and 6 reps, should I do all the sets with same weight or do the first set with as much weight as I could and then decrease weight to make another tight set of 6 reps?

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Posted Sun, 11/18/2018 - 05:34

Hello there
Thanks a lot for your workout routine , I wonder which time of the day is the best period for training ? Like I’ve got time either early mornings or late nights , which one would you suggest ?

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Posted Mon, 11/19/2018 - 10:28

Hi Matt,

Whichever allows you to make it to the gym consistently.

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Posted Thu, 11/15/2018 - 21:05

Curious about the upper body strength workout... i notice 3 different back exercise, one shoulder and only 2 chest workouts? No flat bench presses? And incline dumbbell vs incline barbell for a strength day?

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Posted Sun, 10/28/2018 - 23:25

Hi, is this routine help's burning fat besides gaining muscles ? thanks.

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Posted Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:02

Hi Yahya,

Yes, this routine can be used to help aid in fat loss.

Hope this helps!